I was just at the beach for a week (sigh, coming back from vacation is the WORST). Naturally the day before I left I checked out 12 books and quite a few were romances. Three of them were by Lisa Kleypas and even though they’re not all from the same series, I’m going to just put them all into one post, because the essentials don’t really vary from story to story and I would say they’re all solid 2.5- to 3-star books.
Secrets of a Summer Night:
This is the first Wallflowers book. Annabelle Peyton is a young woman with little hope of catching a suitable husband these days: she’s in her final season and approaching the ripe old age of 24 quickly. Her father’s death some years before has left her and her family fast approaching the point where Annabelle is starting to think she’ll have to marry a farmer or become a governess. She is beautiful, but her family’s trying financial situation isn’t as much a secret as she’d like so men more often than not make her a less acceptable offer: they’ll take care of her…as a mistress, but not a wife. Enter Simon Hunt, a man who isn’t a titled gentleman, but is incredibly wealthy due to business acumen. From the moment he first meets Annabelle he realizes that there isn’t anything he wants more, but he doesn’t want a wife. Simon wants a mistress and is pretty clear about his intentions. Luckily Annabelle makes the acquaintance of three other young ladies also having difficulty finding husbands and they form an alliance. These Wallflowers will help Annabelle find a husband and keep her distracted from her growing attraction to Simon.
This book was ok. I like Simon for the most part – he doesn’t care what the stuck up British society folks think of him and he says what he thinks without filter. What I didn’t like about this book (and I know, this is not that weird for the time period) is that no one seemed to really have THAT much trouble with the fact that Simon was basically treating Annabelle like a whore. I know that it was probably accurate that women of the time, being unable to make a living honestly except by being a maid or governess, often fell back on the oldest profession or agreed to be kept in return for the safety of room and board somewhere. But even when the inevitable happens here and they fall in love, neither Annabelle nor Simon really seems to remember that though he’s in love with her now, before he knew her, he was willing to treat her like property and he was OK WITH THAT. I liked seeing the beginning of the Wallflowers’ friendship, since I’d only read Evie’s story thus far. The story also goes on a bit long. Thus far this is my least favorite of Kleypas’ books.
Scandal in Spring:
This is the fourth of the Wallflowers books, and was quite entertaining. Daisy Bowman is the last of the four wallflowers and fast approaching her final season in London. Her brutish American father has tired of living in England and in order to speed up the process, has issued Daisy an ultimatum: either she find a suitable husband (of the nobility) herself, or she’ll have to marry a man of her father’s choosing. In this case, Thomas Bowman has decided that should Daisy fail to secure the affections of a suitable man, she’ll marry the man he sees as the son he never had (despite having three actual sons back in the States) – Matthew Swift. The trouble with that is, Daisy hates him. Matthew arrives in England none too wise to Mr. Bowman’s plots, but with a long-harbored love for Daisy he intends to conquer once and for all. Because, naturally, he has secrets and Daisy is too good for him. The other Wallflowers (can you call them that once they’re married) strive to find Daisy a suitable match while Daisy strives to avoid the feelings she’s starting to have for the man her unloving father has forced on her.
Not having read Lillian’s story, I’m going to put a guess as to how I’d rank this book in the Wallflower series – 3rd best. The only reason I say this is because I know Lillian’s heavily involves Sebastian, and anything involving him has to be good. It’s definitely better than Annabelle’s book, and Daisy is one of the most appealing of the Wallflower characters.
Tempt me at Twilight:
This is one of the novels Kleypas has written about the Hathaways, I believe it’s the 3rd. I recently read Leo’s story and it heavily featured his younger sister Poppy’s husband Harry Rutledge. Just from the glimpses we get of him I found him appealing enough to check out Poppy’s story next. The story was definitely the best I’ve read so far from the Hathaways; Leo’s was disappointing as the relationship therein had been built up so much over the other novels as to fall kind of flat by the time we get to his happy ending. Win’s was kind of silly, and I’ve yet to read the first of the books, on the eldest daughter Amelia, or the one about Beatrix, the youngest. I liked Poppy a lot as a heroine, much more than her sister Win. She’s dreamy and romantic, but strong and stands up for herself. Harry is definitely an appealing hero, though his underhanded schemes to get Poppy to marry him are a little mean. Since he’s a ruthless business man it’s what we’re to expect I imagine. He has a horrible back story so that his shortcomings in the romance/feelings department are understandable, and he’s really manly. An added bonus for this book is that you get to read a little more of the beginnings of Leo and Catherine’s romance, so that’s nice. I like Leo best of the Hathaways and he is a prominent character here.